A tragic I-270 bus accident in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington, D.C., injured children and parents who spent the day sightseeing on September 29, 2010. The bus crashed down an embankment, killing the driver and injuring more than a dozen.
Montgomery County fire department spokesman Capt. Oscar Garcia said crews had to extricate four trapped people. Reports said that two people have life-threatening injuries.
Federal investigators immediately began to investigate the cause of the crash. According to National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt, they will investigate the records of the company and driver, as well as the work schedule and condition of the vehicle and roads. Sumwalt stated that it would be a year or more before we know the cause of the crash.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokeswoman Candice Tolliver stated by e-mail that the bus company, Wolf’s Bus Lines Inc., got a satisfactory rating in August.
Bus accident law involves federal, state and local laws. Regulations deal with commercial vehicle drivers, bus compliance and standards, and bus company liability and traffic laws.
In cases such as the Bethesda bus accident, investigators will look for evidence that may have contributed to the crash such as:
Investigators will check into the driver’s qualifications, specifically with regard to his commercial driver’s license (CDL) to ensure he was qualified to operate the bus.
They will also check to see if the bus met standards for motor vehicle compliance and safety, including if it met weight ratings and if it was carrying a safe number of passengers.
If you were a passenger in the Bethesda bus accident or any other, you will want to contact a Maryland bus accident lawyer at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. as soon as possible.
The evidence that the federal investigation turns up will be important if you are going to seek damages for injuries sustained in the accident. You will want a legal advocate to interpret and deal with information provided by the government, as well as to negotiate with the bus company lawyers and insurance claims adjusters.
You will also want to organize evidence of your injuries with detailed medical records. You will need to carefully document all expenses you incur because of the physical and emotional trauma of the accident.
As a passenger in a bus accident, you may want to talk to your bus accident injury attorney about filing a claim against the bus company. Bus companies, whether public or private, must provide you with the “utmost duty of care” associated with being a transportation service for the public. This is a high legal standard for evaluating negligence.
If claims for negligence are against a public or governmental entity, you will be dealing with complex laws that have strict time limitations. How these intricate laws are applied differs depending on the circumstances and evidence surrounding the accident.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a bus accident, contact a Maryland injury lawyer at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. for a consultation on how to develop your case.